Don Callison, one of my War Wagon buddies
was one of our better Loach Pilots... Liked by
everyone, and was only hated by Gooks and Slick Pilots.
Don had one unsusual day of being shot
down....... Seems that sometime late in the fall of 1970....
Don and his door gunner were doing a VR in the U-minh Forrest...
a really bad place....... even Dorothy, the Lion, the Tin Man and
the Scare Crow would not have attempted to cross this forrest....
Well, anywho... Don found an interesting area and started to recon by fire when all of a sudden, every Dink in Viet Nam (or at least that's what it sounded like from the pitch of Don's voice) started shooting at him. The Door gunner's 60 could be heard in the background returning fire as Don yelled..... "TAKING FIRE, TAKING FIRE, TAKING FIRE, TAKING HITS, TAKING HITS, TAKING HITS, GOING DOWN, GOING DOWN, GOING DOWN, .....WAIT A
MINUTE....." a brief pause and then in a more legible voice, Don says, "I'm not going to go down
here, we're too close to where we took fire, but I am going down.." Don's powerful loach was
vibrating and shaking when he topped an upcomming treeline and then again Don said, GOING DOWN, going down.... AHHH not here its too damn wet.... let me see if I can make it a little further...." shortly he was heard again, "GOING DOWN, GOING DOWN... AH SHIT DO YOU SEE ALL THOSE FUCKING GOOKS?..... DON'T SHOOT!.... DON'T SHOOT!". It seemed that Don had flown right into the middle of an NVA unit trying to figure out where the hell they were just as startled as Don was
and he did not want his doorgunner to start something that they coudn't finish! The Gooks didn't
shoot, and no fire came from Callisons Bird.......
Once Don felt he was clear enough of the Bad Guys the Call went out again..."Hey guys, this looks like a pretty good place to go down so come down and get me." He landed and the C&C bird picked him and his doorgunner up and the Bird was later recovered.....
I think, and Don will correct me if I'm wrong on this one.... it was the Super Door Gunner, Bill Hanegmon who had shot them down...... seems like Hanegmon had seen a guy in the open and while Hanegmon was trying to nail his ass... put a few into the blades.... If my memory serves me correct....3 out of the 4 had been hit and one had taken a hit in the leading edge.......
This was probably one of the longest
shootdowns ever recorded by and aircraft that was only traveling
about 15 ft off the ground when it took friendly (???) fire.
Rick Waite, Aeroscout
War Wagon 19/16
D Troop 3rd of the 5th Air Cav
Vinh Long 1970/71